The Café du Cycliste Madeleine Women Gilet is pricy, but well spec'd. It's small and light enough to fit in a back pocket when not in use.
The Madeline Gilet whispers quietly about its French provenance. Its subtle grey check with a slight pink thread running through it is stylish and unobtrusive. It is designed for women who want high performance features without looking like a Team Sky wannabe.
The primary purpose of the Madeline is as a wind-cheater, and it does this very well very well. The high zipped neck and lycra hems to the sleeves and waist worked in harmony to keep the chill off. The gilet is billed as water resistant, and while I wouldn't want to be out in a downpour wearing it, the December drizzle posed no problems. The reflective elements were very unobtrusive, but added a little visibility when riding at dusk or at night.
The back section of the gilet is extremely well designed. It has a wide mesh panel, which worked really well to keep me cool at speed. It has no pockets of its own, but there's a hidden access slot, so it's easy to reach into my jersey pockets underneath.
The extremely lightweight and thin fabric meant that when I warmed up, I could stash the jacket easily into a back pocket and barely notice it was there, thanks to the astonishingly tiny 100g it weighs.
The gilet is described as 'race fit' and is available in sizes 8-16. I found the 16 fairly true to size, which reminded me that racing more would eliminate the wibbly bits that the gilet emphasised. If your figure is more racer than Rubenesque then I think that the gilet would be extremely flattering to wear. There is elasticated cinching at the waist which both flatters the figure and eliminates any bulking up of material as you lean low on the bars.
The Madeline gilet lives up to its marketing as it has many uses from keeping off the morning chill to allowing effective layering when climbing and descending, all with a subtle French je ne sais quoi.
Very good windproofing for something so light. And not garish at all. Win.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Madeleine Women Gilet
Size tested: XL, Grey plaid
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Madeleine Gilet covers so many situations, you'll never want to be caught without it. Wear it over other layers to cut out the chill of the morning before the day warms up; throw it on for a descent to avoid cooling down too fast; or wear it stylishly on your commute to keep you at just the right temperature. Weighing just 100g, it's windproof and water repellant, scrunches quickly into your back pocket and is cut deliberately snug to avoid too much flapping at speed.
Its grey plaid check and subtle pink detailing take it a notch above other gilets, which tend to emphasise purpose over style. But the Madeleine sacrifices nothing on the technical side, with its mesh insert within the back providing an easy exit for excess heat, and cleverly designed openings allowing you to reach inside to your jersey pockets. Even at night, its generous yet unobtrusive reflective details give you an edge.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weighs just 100g
Squashes easily into a pocket
Mesh back insert
100% PE (mesh back: 80% PA, 20% EA)
Lycra hems for sleeve and waist
Openings in back for access to jersey pocket beneath
Discreet reflective logo and detailing
A few stray threads.
It does what it says on the tin, and with style.
100g - really feels like you're wearing nothing at all.
High initial cost, but many possible uses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was a great additional layer with really easy access to jersey pockets on the layer beneath.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure